Mister Pip was one of the front runners for this year’s Man Booker Prize (which I find to be one of the most reliable prize lists to select a novel from) and I kept hearing amazing things about it.
I had read two of the six shortlisted books (The Reluctant Fundamentalist and On Chesil Beach) already, and my thought last weekend was that if I could finish Mister Pip before Tuesday afternoon I’d have an impressive 50% chance of having already read the winning book. (The prize was announced Tuesday night.) Especially considering that Mister Pip and On Chesil Beach were the front runners.
But alas, as the Booker Prize seems to go in recent years, it went to a dark horse, The Gathering by Anne Enright. I suppose I’ll need to read that too, though I hear it’s incredibly dark.
But back to the point of this post: Mister Pip was an incredible story. I respond very well to novels where books themselves play an essential role in the plot and in the character’s development, probably because I relate so easily. (The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is the most brilliant example of this I can think of and one of my very favorite books.) In Mister Pip, however, it was one specific book that played such a critical role in the protagonist’s survival (probably evident from the title): Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Not only is Great Expectations a story that provides Matilda with an escape from her troubled life as well as parallel her own story in many ways, it’s also the only book available on her native island.
It’s a bit alarming to be transported into a world that knows only one book, and humbling too.
Interesting to note: This is the third work of fiction I’ve read with Miss Havisham as a character, and I have not even read Great Expectations. The first two were Lost in a Good Book and The Well of Lost Plots, both by Jasper Fforde. It’s about time I read the book myself, so I’ve decided it’s going to be my next classic in my Classic Catch-Up. Not surprising, I’ve strayed from my original list. But oh well, the point is to catch up with classics, so I won’t be fussy about which one I catch a whim to read.
(This post was brought over from emilyw.vox.com.)